Here’s my latest article in Long-Term Living magazine online, 5 Secrets Your Line Staff Wishes You Knew:
Click-clack. Click-Clack. The hard-bottomed shoes of the administrator echoed through the halls once again, this time accompanied by the high heels of the director of nursing. The crepe-soled nursing staff moved about the floor, silently hoping the bigwigs would notice and address the problems that frustrate them on a daily basis.
Do you ever wonder what your staff isn’t telling you? Are you puzzled why, despite all your efforts, the organization isn’t functioning as efficiently as you’d hoped? In January, I revealed the secrets your line staff doesn’t want you to know. Now, here are the secrets the staff won’t say, but wants to—secrets that will transform your facility.
1. The staff members who are doing their jobs properly wish you’d be on the floors more often.
They’d never “rat out” their coworkers, but they’d like you to catch how often their colleagues disappear for unscheduled breaks, or the way they talk to some of the residents. Your frequent and unexpected presence raises the level of professionalism of your staff and keeps you in touch with the realities of day-to-day care. By taking some time to sit at the nursing station, for example, workers can observe and emulate your style of interacting with the residents and their families. Participating during the change of shift report can offer the opportunity to influence the type of information offered during this important transition. You become more familiar and approachable, rather than a “bigwig” in an office, and find out more of the information you need to know to make your nursing home proactive and productive.
2. All this disorganization is driving them crazy.
It’s not in the nursing job description to reorganize the file drawer—but isn’t it in somebody’s job description? Please, send someone over to put the forms in place, because if it takes each staff member 10 minutes to locate the MD order form, that is way too much time wasted. While you’re at it, organize the linen, pantry and supply closets—and make them the same on every floor, so floaters can quickly find the things they need. The time it takes to do this properly—with some forethought and planning about what goes where—will quickly pay off as multiple staff members on multiple floors can easily locate the tools essential for their jobs.